ALGOL 60

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ALGOL 60
Paradigm(s) procedural, imperative, structured
Designed by Backus, Bauer, Green, Katz, McCarthy, Naur, Perlis, Rutishauser, Samelson, van Wijngaarden, Vauquois, Wegstein, Woodger
Appeared in 1960
Influenced by ALGOL 58
Influenced Most subsequent imperative languages (so-called ALGOL-like languages), e.g. Simula, CPL, Pascal, Ada, C

ALGOL 60 (short for ALGOrithmic Language 1960) is a member of the ALGOL family of computer programming languages. It followed on from ALGOL 58 which had introduced code blocks and the begin and end pairs for delimiting them. ALGOL 60 was the first language implementing nested function definitions with lexical scope. It gave rise to many other programming languages, including BCPL, B, Pascal, Simula and C.

Niklaus Wirth based his own ALGOL W on ALGOL 60 before moving to develop Pascal. Algol-W was intended to be the next generation ALGOL but the ALGOL 68 committee decided on a design that was more complex and advanced rather than a cleaned simplified ALGOL 60. The official ALGOL versions are named after the year they were first published. Algol 68 is substantially different from Algol 60 and was criticised partially for being so, so that in general "Algol" refers to dialects of Algol 60.

The word "Algol" is sometimes given in mixed case (Algol 60), and sometimes in all uppercase (ALGOL 68).

Standardization

ALGOL 60 — with COBOL — were the first languages to seek standardization.

  • ISO 1538:1984 Programming languages — Algol 60 (now withdrawn)
  • ISO/TR 1672:1977 Hardware representation of ALGOL basic symbols ... (now withdrawn)

History

ALGOL 60 was used mostly by research computer scientists in the United States and in Europe. Its use in commercial applications was hindered by the absence of standard input/output facilities in its description and the lack of interest in the language by large computer vendors. ALGOL 60 did however become the standard for the publication of algorithms and had a profound effect on future language development.

John Backus developed the Backus normal form method of describing programming languages specifically for ALGOL 58. It was revised and expanded by Peter Naur for ALGOL 60, and at Donald Knuth's suggestion renamed Backus–Naur Form.1

Peter Naur: "As editor of the ALGOL Bulletin I was drawn into the international discussions of the language and was selected to be member of the European language design group in November 1959. In this capacity I was the editor of the ALGOL 60 report, produced as the result of the ALGOL 60 meeting in Paris in January 1960."2

The following people attended the meeting in Paris (from January 11 to 16):

Alan Perlis gave a vivid description of the meeting: "The meetings were exhausting, interminable, and exhilarating. One became aggravated when one's good ideas were discarded along with the bad ones of others. Nevertheless, diligence persisted during the entire period. The chemistry of the 13 was excellent."

ALGOL 60 inspired many languages that followed it. C. A. R. Hoare remarked: "Here is a language so far ahead of its time that it was not only an improvement on its predecessors but also on nearly all its successors."3 The Scheme programming language, a variant of Lisp that adopted the block structure and lexical scope of ALGOL, also adopted the wording "Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language Scheme" for its standards documents in homage to ALGOL.4

ALGOL 60 implementations timeline

To date there have been at least 70 augmentations, extensions, derivations and sublanguages of Algol 60.5

Name Year Author State Description Target CPU
X1 ALGOL 60 August 19606 Edsger W. Dijkstra and Jaap A. Zonneveld Netherlands First implementation of ALGOL 607 Electrologica X1
Algol 19608 Edgar T. Irons USA Algol 60 CDC 1604
Burroughs Algol
(Several variants)
1961 Burroughs Corporation (with participation by Hoare, Dijkstra, and others) USA Basis of the Burroughs (and now Unisys MCP based) computers Burroughs large systems
and their midrange as well.
Case ALGOL 1961 USA Simula was originally contracted as a simulation extension of the Case ALGOL UNIVAC 1107
GOGOL 1961 William McKeeman USA For ODIN time-sharing system PDP-1
DASK ALGOL 1961 Peter Naur, Jørn Jensen Denmark Algol 60 DASK at Regnecentralen
SMIL ALGOL 1962 Torgil Ekman, Carl-Erik Fröberg Sweden Algol 60 SMIL at Lund University
GIER ALGOL 1962 Peter Naur, Jørn Jensen Denmark Algol 60 GIER at Regnecentralen
Dartmouth ALGOL 30 1962 Thomas Eugene Kurtz et al. USA LGP-30
USS 90 Algol 1962 L. Petrone Italy
Elliott ALGOL 1962 C. A. R. Hoare UK Discussed in his 1980 Turing Award lecture Elliott 803 & the Elliott 503
Algol Translator 1962 G. van der Mey and W.L. van der Poel Netherlands Staatsbedrijf der Posterijen, Telegrafie en Telefonie ZEBRA
Kidsgrove Algol 1963 F. G. Duncan UK English Electric Company KDF9
VALGOL 1963 Val Schorre USA A test of the META II compiler compiler
FP6000 Algol 1963 Roger Moore Canada written for Saskatchewan Power Corp FP6000
Whetstone 1964 Brian Randell and L J Russell UK Atomic Power Division of English Electric Company. Precursor to Ferranti Pegasus, National Physical Laboratories ACE and English Electric DEUCE implementations. English Electric Company KDF9
NU ALGOL 1965 Norway UNIVAC
ALGEK 1965 USSR Minsk-22 АЛГЭК, based on ALGOL-60 and COBOL support, for economical tasks
MALGOL 1966 publ. A. Viil, M Kotli & M. Rakhendi, Estonian SSR Minsk-22
ALGAMS 1967 GAMS group (ГАМС, группа автоматизации программирования для машин среднего класса), cooperation of Comecon Academies of Science Comecon Minsk-22, later ES EVM, BESM
ALGOL/ZAM 1967 Poland Polish ZAM computer
Chinese Algol 1972 China Chinese characters, expressed via the Symbol system
DG/L 1972 USA DG Eclipse family of Computers
NASE 1990 Erik Schoenfelder Germany Interpreter Linux and MS Windows
MARST 2000 Andrew Makhorin Russia Algol-60 to C translator All CPUs supported by the GNU Compiler Collection; MARST is part of the GNU project

The Burroughs dialects included special Bootstrapping dialects such as ESPOL and NEWP.

Properties

ALGOL 60 as officially defined had no I/O facilities; implementations defined their own in ways that were rarely compatible with each other. In contrast, ALGOL 68 offered an extensive library of transput (ALGOL 68 parlance for Input/Output) facilities.

ALGOL 60 allowed for two evaluation strategies for parameter passing: the common call-by-value, and call-by-name. Call-by-name had certain limitations in contrast to call-by-reference, making it an undesirable feature in imperative language design. For example, it is impossible in ALGOL 60 to develop a procedure that will swap the values of two parameters if the actual parameters that are passed in are an integer variable and an array that is indexed by that same integer variable.9 However, call-by-name is still beloved of ALGOL implementors for the interesting "thunks" that are used to implement it. Donald Knuth devised the "man or boy test" to separate compilers that correctly implemented "recursion and non-local references." This test contains an example of call-by-name.

ALGOL 60 Reserved words and restricted identifiers

There are 35 such reserved words in the standard Burroughs large systems sub-language:

  • ALPHA
  • ARRAY
  • BEGIN
  • BOOLEAN
  • COMMENT
  • CONTINUE
  • DIRECT
  • DO
  • DOUBLE
  • ELSE
  • END
  • EVENT
  • FALSE
  • FILE
  • FOR
  • FORMAT
  • GO
  • IF
  • INTEGER
  • LABEL
  • LIST
  • LONG
  • OWN
  • POINTER
  • PROCEDURE
  • REAL
  • STEP
  • SWITCH
  • TASK
  • THEN
  • TRUE
  • UNTIL
  • VALUE
  • WHILE
  • ZIP

There are 71 such restricted identifiers in the standard Burroughs large systems sub-language:

  • ACCEPT
  • AND
  • ATTACH
  • BY
  • CALL
  • CASE
  • CAUSE
  • CLOSE
  • DEALLOCATE
  • DEFINE
  • DETACH
  • DISABLE
  • DISPLAY
  • DIV
  • DUMP
  • ENABLE
  • EQL
  • EQV
  • EXCHANGE
  • EXTERNAL
  • FILL
  • FORWARD
  • GEQ
  • GTR
  • IMP
  • IN
  • INTERRUPT
  • IS
  • LB
  • LEQ
  • LIBERATE
  • LINE
  • LOCK
  • LSS
  • MERGE
  • MOD
  • MONITOR
  • MUX
  • NEQ
  • NO
  • NOT
  • ON
  • OPEN
  • OR
  • OUT
  • PICTURE
  • PROCESS
  • PROCURE
  • PROGRAMDUMP
  • RB
  • READ
  • RELEASE
  • REPLACE
  • RESET
  • RESIZE
  • REWIND
  • RUN
  • SCAN
  • SEEK
  • SET
  • SKIP
  • SORT
  • SPACE
  • SWAP
  • THRU
  • TIMES
  • TO
  • WAIT
  • WHEN
  • WITH
  • WRITE

and also the names of all the intrinsic functions.

Standard Operators

Priority Operator
first
arithmetic
first ↑ (power)
second ×, / (real), ÷ (integer)
third +, -
second <, ≤, =, ≥, >, ≠
third ¬ (not)
fourth ∧ (and)
fifth ∨ (or)
sixth ⊃ (implication)
seventh ≡ (equivalence)

Examples and portability issues

Code sample comparisons

ALGOL 60

procedure Absmax(a) Size:(n, m) Result:(y) Subscripts:(i, k);
    value n, m; array a; integer n, m, i, k; real y;
comment The absolute greatest element of the matrix a, of size n by m 
is transferred to y, and the subscripts of this element to i and k;
begin integer p, q;
    y := 0; i := k := 1;
    for p:=1 step 1 until n do
    for q:=1 step 1 until m do
        if abs(a[p, q]) > y then
            begin y := abs(a[p, q]);
            i := p; k := q
            end
end Absmax

Implementations differ in how the text in bold must be written. The word 'INTEGER', including the quotation marks, must be used in some implementations in place of integer, above, thereby designating it as a special keyword.

Following is an example of how to produce a table using Elliott 803 ALGOL:10

 FLOATING POINT ALGOL TEST'
 BEGIN REAL A,B,C,D'

 READ D'

 FOR A:= 0.0 STEP D UNTIL 6.3 DO
 BEGIN
   PRINT PUNCH(3),££L??'
   B := SIN(A)'
   C := COS(A)'
   PRINT PUNCH(3),SAMELINE,ALIGNED(1,6),A,B,C'
 END'
 END'

ALGOL 60 family

Since ALGOL 60 had no I/O facilities, there is no portable hello world program in ALGOL. The following program could (and still will) compile and run on an ALGOL implementation for a Unisys A-Series mainframe, and is a straightforward simplification of code taken from The Language Guide at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Computer and Information Science Department Hello world! ALGOL Example Program page.

BEGIN
  FILE F(KIND=REMOTE);
  EBCDIC ARRAY E[0:11];
  REPLACE E BY "HELLO WORLD!";
  WRITE(F, *, E);
END.

A simpler program using an inline format:

BEGIN
  FILE F(KIND=REMOTE);
  WRITE(F, <"HELLO WORLD!">);
END.

An even simpler program using the Display statement:

BEGIN DISPLAY("HELLO WORLD!") END.

An alternative example, using Elliott Algol I/O is as follows. Elliott Algol used different characters for "open-string-quote" and "close-string-quote", represented here by and .

 program HiFolks;
 begin
    print Hello world
 end;

Here's a version for the Elliott 803 Algol (A104) The standard Elliott 803 used 5 hole paper tape and thus only had upper case. The code lacked any quote characters so £ (UK Pound Sign) was used for open quote and ? (Question Mark) for close quote. Special sequences were placed in double quotes (e.g. ££L?? produced a new line on the teleprinter).

  HIFOLKS'
  BEGIN
     PRINT £HELLO WORLD£L??'
  END'

The ICT 1900 series Algol I/O version allowed input from paper tape or punched card. Paper tape 'full' mode allowed lower case. Output was to a line printer.

  'PROGRAM' (HELLO)
  'BEGIN'
     'COMMENT' OPEN QUOTE IS '(', CLOSE IS ')', PRINTABLE SPACE HAS TO
               BE WRITTEN AS % BECAUSE SPACES ARE IGNORED;
     WRITE TEXT('('HELLO%WORLD')');
  'END'
  'FINISH'

See also

References

  1. ^ Knuth, Donald E. (December 1964). "Backus normal Form vs Backus Naur Form". Comm. ACM 7 (12): 735–6. doi:10.1145/355588.365140. 
  2. ^ ACM Award Citation / Peter Naur, 2005
  3. ^ Hoare, C.A.R. (December 1973). "Hints on Programming Language Design" (PDF). p. 27.  (This statement is sometimes erroneously attributed to Edsger W. Dijkstra, also involved in implementing the first ALGOL 60 compiler.)
  4. ^ Jonathan Rees and William Clinger (Editors), Hal Abelson, R. K. Dybvig et al. "Revised(3) Report on the Algorithmic Language Scheme, (Dedicated to the Memory of ALGOL 60)". Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  5. ^ The Encyclopedia of Computer Languages
  6. ^ Daylight, E. G. (2011). "Dijkstra's Rallying Cry for Generalization: the Advent of the Recursive Procedure, late 1950s — early 1960s". The Computer Journal. doi:10.1093/comjnl/bxr002. 
  7. ^ Kruseman Aretz, F.E.J. (30 June 2003). "The Dijkstra-Zonneveld ALGOL 60 compiler for the Electrologica X1". Software Engineering. History of Computer Science. Kruislaan 413, 1098 SJ Amsterdam: Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica. 
  8. ^ Irons, Edgar T., A syntax directed compiler for ALGOL 60, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 4, p. 51. (Jan. 1961)
  9. ^ Aho, Alfred V.; Ravi Sethi, Jeffrey D. Ullman (1986). Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (1st ed.). Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-10194-7.  , Section 7.5, and references therein
  10. ^ "803 ALGOL", the manual for Elliott 803 ALGOL

Further reading

External links